Traditional South American Recipes for Beans

Regional South American Recipes that Feature Beans

Beans are abundant in South America, and an important part of the cuisine. Every country seems to have its own preferred variety of bean, and a traditional recipe to go with it. Beans are nutritious and economical, and the leftovers are delicious the next day, wrapped in a tortilla for lunch. Enjoy this list of typical South American recipes that feature the humble frijol, and remember that canned beans make quick work of those long-simmering, traditional recipes.
  • 01 of 11
    Feijoada - Brazilian Black Beans with Smoked Meats. Marian Blazes
    Feijoada is essentially Brazil's national dish. It takes more than a day to prepare, and it's best enjoyed at a weekend gathering of family and friends. Black beans are the star of feijoada, and they are combined with various smoked meats and many special accompaniments.
  • 02 of 11
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    Venezuelan Black Beans. Marian Blazes

     These rich and savory slow-cooked black beans are seasoned with bacon, molasses, and spices.

  • 03 of 11
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    Brazilian Cattleman Beans - Feijão Tropeiro. Marian Blazes

    This dish combines three staple foods of Brazilian cattlemen - dried beans, salted dried beef (carne de sol), and manioc meal - into one complete meal.  

  • 04 of 11
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    Clay Pot Beans - Frijoles a la Olla. Marian Blazes

    Slow cooking beans in a clay pot is a very traditional technique, and many people claim that the resulting beans are more flavorful.  Clay pots can be beautiful and decorative, so it's tempting to leave them on the shelf, but the more a clay pot is used, the better it will season the food that is cooked in it.

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  • 05 of 11
    Tacu Tacu - Peruvian Steak, Rice & Beans. Marian Blazes
    Tacu Tacu is a classic Peruvian dish in which leftover beans and rice are formed into patties and fried, and then served with more delicious fried things (like fried steak and fried plantains), and then the whole thing is topped off with a fried egg, just for good measure.
  • 06 of 11
    Colombian Red Beans. Marian Blazes
    This is a quick version, using canned beans, of traditional Colombian slow-cooked beans. These beans are so delicious, even in their shortcut form, that they make a great main course. Serve them over rice, and use the leftovers for burritos or nachos.
  • 07 of 11
    Venezuelan Steak with Black Beans and Rice - Pabellón Criollo. Marian Blazes
    Pabellón Criollo is a main course rice and beans dish from Venezuela. The beef, rice, and beans are cooked separately and arranged on a platter to resemble the stripes of a tri-colored flag (the word pabellón means flag).
  • 08 of 11
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    Dominican Stewed Red Beans - Habichuelas Rojas Guisadas. Marian Blazes

    Savory stewed red beans cooked with onions, tomatoes, and squash are a classic side dish in the Dominican Republic. 

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  • 09 of 11
    Arroz con Lentejas y Coco. Marian Blazes
    This Colombian side dish of lentils and rice is unique for it's delicious coconut flavor. The rice is cooked in coconut milk, which adds a sweet touch that compliments the nutty taste of the lentils.
  • 10 of 11
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    Chilean Beans with Noodles - Porotos con Riendas. Marian Blazes

    This traditional Chilean dish is a hearty stew of pinto beans, vegetables, and sausage.  

  • 11 of 11
    Plato Paceño. Marian Blazes
    This dish is named for the Bolivian capital, La Paz. It is a high carbohydrate, economical vegetable plate that will keep you going all day. In Bolivia this dish is made with super large lima beans called habas, which grow beautifully in the andes and are cooked fresh from the pod (and sometimes served still in the pod). Frozen lima beans are an easy substitute.